Fashion Blog Crushes

Continuing with my shout outs to the sites 
that inspire me within the fantastic World Wide Web 
(yesterday I acknowledged the food blogs that keep my stomach happy), 
today I am saying thank you 
to the fashion and style blogs 
that get me excited 
to get dressed.

Whether for work, 
or an event or party,
or simply a dinner date out, 
these fashionable ladies and their beautiful photos
make me eager to tackle my own closet chaos
and feed my creativity 
with new ideas and items.

with styles that most relate to my own personal aesthetic,
so classy and so fun
(and that black lace dress with sparkling jewels combo is beyond perfect)

whom I adore for the shared love of a certain type of flower, 
and for her adorably chic style and overall look

with her East Coast style, 
infused with her California casual vibe, 
a look I think we all try to master, 
and Laney just gets it so right

Anna, from Tulip Louise
one of my original favorites, 
who knows how to mix high-and-low oh so perfectly

and who supplied me with
my all time favorite fashionista photo of 2012
(below, Anna at NYFW)

all photos from their respective sites


Foodie Blog Crushes

As I spend this glorious week between Christmas and New Years 
lounging at my family’s home in snowy upstate New York, 
I’m finally having the time to catch up with the many blogs 
that I so thoroughly enjoy, 
yet fell behind with reading during the past few crazy weeks.

And as I do so, 
I’m reminded of just how deeply these blogs inspire and influence me. 
As I work on creating my own little space in the blogosphere, 
these sites that I enjoy are my constant sources of inspiration; 
for my personal blog, 
for my home, for the clothes I wear, 
the food I eat, and more.

So as we wrap up 2012, 
I’d like to give some little shout outs to the blogs that helped to make my year 
more fantastic and fabulous, 
starting with the food blogs that get me excited to create in the kitchen
...and make me think I too can make something 
so deliciously good (looking):

for her witty, relatable writing 
and for aiding in the growth of my sweet tooth

Sara, at the Sprouted Kitchen
with her wise, beautiful words 
and for helping me feel better 
after I’ve indulged in too many of Joy’s cookies

Clara from Channeling Contessa
for giving me that middle ground between Joy and Sara 
 (the two gorgeous pasta shots probably aren’t the best representation but I love my carbs) 
and making everything seem doable for someone like me 

all photos from their respective sites


Beautiful Little Fools

While I’m eagerly looking forward to going to see the Les Misérables film tomorrow with my Mom, I can’t help but be just as excited for next May... when Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby hits theaters. The trailer alone gets my blood pumping and my mind already starts planning some fantastic flapper-inspired ensembles.

In the meantime, gaze upon the newly released movie posters and try not to envision beaded dresses, jazz music and champagne.

movie poster photos from Glamour.com


Merry Merry

The past couple weeks have been packed to the brim, 
trying to wrap things up at work before a bit of an extended break, 
finishing up Christmas shopping, sending cards, 
baking, wrapping, cleaning 
and a schedule full of dinner and party plans. 
It was a whirlwind 
and I'm amazed that I got most of what I aimed to accomplish done.

In the middle of all the holiday chaos 
I traveled to and from NYC for a weekend 
of traditions and good times with good friends. 
It was a wonderful mini-break 
to just enjoy the decorations, 
the cheer 
and some fantastically great Christmas silliness. 

But in the midst of this season, 
I, along with the rest of the country,
 were all intensely saddened by the news in Connecticut. 
I still can't even comprehend the actions and emotions 
that took place that day and I feel, 
like many others, 
to still be reeling from shock. 

But today, I rest within my cozy home, 
with my family, surrounded my snow, food, love and a feeling of safety, 
even for just this brief moment in time. 
I am so thankful for all of the blessings and the love in my life, 
and on this Christmas Day, 
wish everyone an abundance of caring, peace and love. 
Whatever our various views may be, 
in the end, 
I believe we simply need compassion. 

Merry Christmas to all xoxo

photo via my Instagram


“One day in retrospect 
the years of struggle 
will strike you as the most beautiful.”

- Sigmund Freud

photo of Boston Harbor, one of my last days living in the North End


Discovering A Little More Joy

Once again, I had a lovely weekend. 

Two weekends in a row left feeling a bit more rested, a bit more calm and happy on the Sunday night. I'm thinking it's offically time to make this sort of situation a habit.

This joy came from a collection of sources, from strolling the mall on Friday evening, with time to spare before meeting up with friends for dinner, to an insanely delicious eggplant parmesan dinner courtesy of the boy on Sunday night.

Having the time to just wander around the mall can be delightful. Discovering new stores (Gilly Hicks) and new tops to wear out in NYC next weekend, perusing Anthropologie and stumbling upon the latest Kinfolk
, in all it's holiday glory.

I probably did a bit too much retail therapy but oh well, tis the season, right?

While Saturday was filled with necessities (snow tires, gym, cleaning apartment, organizing clothes), it felt great to step back and look upon a newly tidied up residence, with Christmas music playing in the background, surrounded by newly hung twinkling lights and holiday candles burning bright.

And then came the delectable dining experiences on Sunday.

The boy and I joined my boss for brunch and devoured pecan sticky buns, sunny side up eggs, and more to satiate us a bit, that is, until we ventured over to Eat Boutique's Holiday Market, filled with people of all ages, eager to taste the samples and purchase gastonomical gifts for their friends and family.

I made out well, with coffee syrup for my Dad (I know he'll be pouring the rich syrup over his nightly vanilla ice cream) and some super cute foodie stationary cards that I'm thinking will look adorable framed in my kitchen.

But by far the highlight was having the opportunity to meet Joy the Baker and have her sign my copy of her baking bible.   I've been following Joy's blog for awhile now, but what really drew me into her has been her Podcast series. They are what keep me sane on my daily commute to and from work. They entertain and inform me and I look forward to what she and Tracy ponder about each week.  She is a prime example of a silly, fun, stylish female...that is also a business powerhouse that I aspire to learn from.

Joy was fantastic; the line to have her books signed wrapped around the whole market, and although she was set to end at 3 pm, she continued until everyone had the opportunity to meet her. Friendly and warm in person, after mentioning my new kitten, she asked to see photos and gushed over my little guy.

As I looked at how Joy had signed my book after I left, I was taken back by the full message she had left. Not a simple signature, or a standard "Best Wishes" but a full, beautiful message, encouraging me to "make many cookies and share the love."

It was an absolute pleasure meeting Joy, a perfect model of how you can be successful and still humble and so kind. I left feeling inspired, inspired to be my best, and of course, inspired to bake.

So, first on the list...these S'mores Brownies,  discovered in the Joy the Baker cookbook of course.

photo courtesy of Joy 


"Make your own happiness, 
map your own joy."

photo courtesy of Katie Armour’s Tumblr


Winter Warmers

The colder weather is inviting itself in, 
making itself comfortable, 
prepping for the long stay. 

I live in New England, 
which means that Mother Nature can have a pretty nasty attitude for several months, causing my desire to hibernate until April. 

In anticipation of chilly days and nights, 
I’m already planning many evenings bundled up on the couch 
with my favorite plaid throw.

But the night isn’t complete 
without a winter cocktail in hand.  
While my usual go-to drink on a chilly night is a glass of rich red wine, 
I’ve lately been interested in trying my hand at some cocktails. 
Cocktails that comfort me,
 that warm me from the inside out, 
that celebrates the winter season. 

And so I’ve found some appetizing cocktails 
that have me ready to fill up my tumblers, 
such as this Winter Sun, 
with vodka, clementine, lemon and rosemary
and the Cherry Whiskey Smash, 
topped off with a personal favorite of mine, 
Maraschino Cherries. 

Winter Sun

Cherry Whiskey Smash

But I don’t always need the hard stuff to warm me up; 
the decadence of a wonderful mug of hot chocolate 
cures many an ailment,
from cold hands to cold hearts. 

Cheers to the snowy nights ahead, 
complete with whatever winter warmer you choose :)

all photos courtesy of Pinterest

RiRi Reassurance

“I’m in a positive space, 
but I do have my days...
Everybody has their days.”

- Rihanna


Couch, Cat & Christmas Candles

I had one of the best weekends I've had in a long time. 
It's Tuesday and I'm still reflecting back on it, 
eager to transport myself back into it. 

I entered the weekend not feeling my best and planned on resting and gathering my strengths to feel better for the busy work week ahead, full of meetings, dinners and holiday planning to continue. And by doing so, by resting and doing what I needed, in those 48 hours, I got so much more in return. 

I spent the weekend being incredibly productive in ways that makes it clear you are an adult and have adult responsibilities, like getting groceries, cleaning the bathroom, stocking up on food for the week for the new little kitten in my life. I tidied up the apartment, I did too many loads of laundry and folded too many washcloths, sorted too many socks. I had snow tires put on my car and sorted through old magazines. 

I went to the gym both days and enjoyed delicious meals with the boy. Turkey and noodle soup comforted me and my sore throat Saturday night and baked salmon made me feel like I was feeding my body well Sunday night. 

I gathered together several cups of lettuce and spinach and blended them together with apples, bananas, pears and more for a green smoothie that will last me several days. 

The boy and I went to the mecca that dorm dreams are made of, 
Bed, Bath & Beyond 
and bought a humidifier and a steamer.

But don't get me wrong, 
I wasn't the perfect holy saint all weekend. 

I watched my beloved episodes of 
Greys, Scandal and Beverly Hills Housewives Saturday night 
with a few glasses of delicious wine, 
as I let my pedicure dry. 

I dug into the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate 
I had recently picked up when I was in Vermont. 

And I slept. 
Leisurely lounged in bed Sunday morning. 
Almost until noon.

Lately I have been having mixed feelings on my increasing "homebody" love, 
on my desire to stay in, 
to prefer a good movie on the couch with a glass of wine, 
on my aversion to the frequent night outs of my past.  
I'm not old, shouldn't I go out more? 
Party it up while I still can? 

But as I lay on the couch Sunday night,
reading my Martha Stewart Living magazine, 
getting overwhelmed with holiday cookie ideas, 
as the little kitten snuggled next to me, 
as I was surrounded by the smell of my spruce candle, 
I thought, 
yes, this was a mighty fine weekend. 

I think that social, party-hopping girl is still in me somewhere. 
She's not gone forever, that I am certain. 

She's just taking a little break. 

photo from my iPhone of my weekend cuddle buddy

~ For those who have been subject to my recent barrage of kitten photos on Twitter & Instagram
don't worry, I won't make you constantly witness my downward spiral to cat lady ~


This Repeller Drew Me Right In

I love the Proust Questionnaire. 
Like many others, I was first introduced to this style of interview 
and thought provoking questions via Vanity Fair 
and have since quickly opened all my newly arrived magazines 
from the last page first.

I enjoy these types of curiosities, 
these unique personality exposing inquisitions. 
It is with conversations like these 
that one learns what a person is really like, 
that allows you to get a sample of their soul. 

And while deep and evocative, 
it is also just simply entertaining.

Man Repeller recently posted about her equal interest in Proust 
and took a stab at some of his questions 
and in doing so, 
gave a statement that stuck with me. 

While deep and evocative, 
it also hits a joyful spot, 
perfectly putting into words a beautiful and simple testimony 
that I strive to live by. 

When answering the question, 
"what is your current state of mind,"
Leandra Medine answers with:

What is life if not a celebration, and what is celebration if not for life?

Ms. Man Repeller, thank you so much for sharing.